When Is The Best Time To Visit Amsterdam?

Just like many European capitals, Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a melting pot of history, culture, and tourism. With the influx of millions of tourists each year, Amsterdam is one of the greatest travel destinations in the world.

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Tagged as ‘‘Venice of the North’, Amsterdam is a major tourist attraction with visitors from all around the world. It is home to the rich Dutch history, grand and unique museums and other cultural exhibits. It also boasts a lively music scene and is known for marvelously vast canals.

So when is the best time to visit Amsterdam? Going by a rule of thumb, It is often best to travel to a four-season country when days are longer and temperatures are milder than other months. It’s because the warm season allows more time outdoors and convenience to tourists.BUT every season has its unique charms. Am I right?

A better answer would be - The best time to visit Amsterdam is whenever you can, no matter what time of year.

So now, I’m going to list the attractions and things you can do that’s unique for every season. Sit back, relax and read on.

Spring (March To Early May)

The Keukenhof Gardens. Photo from Thousandwonders.com

People refer to the spring season as the best time to visit Amsterdam. Amsterdam is stunningly beautiful during this season. The city sheds its winter layers with the emerging of the hyacinths, while people gear up for seasonal celebrations. The temperature is dry with short rains.

During this season, tulips come into colorful bloom, parks are bursting with people seeking the first rays of sunshine, bikes are everywhere, and there are endless huge festivals.

The most notable event in Amsterdam during the spring season is King’s Day (Koningsdag), a national holiday in honor of the king’s birthday, celebrated every 27th of April. You’ll be treated to a spectacle of street carnival dancing and singing combined with the open air free market.

Traditionally, the powerful monarch portraits are on display and streets are decorated with Dutch National flags and the color of orange, the traditional color of the monarchy and the symbol of Dutch patriotism. Another big festival during the spring season is the Liberation Day, held every 5th of May. It marks the celebration of freedom and the end of the Second World War for the Netherlands.

The greatest thing about spring is the blooming of the tulips. Feast your eyes on the 7 million tulip bulbs of various colors at the 32-hectare Keukenhof Gardens. The Gardens are just a 30-minute bus ride away from Amsterdam and are open from mid-March to mid-May.

Tip: Airfares in spring could be more affordable than in the summer since it is not a peak season. Likewise, accommodations and lodgings are cheaper in this season than in the summer.

Summer (June To August)

Sunset at Zandvoort aan zee beach. Photo from Urbancapture.com

Some argue that summer is the best season to visit Amsterdam due to the warm weather. Amsterdam comes alive during this season, and there’s always something going on - famed music festival parties, open-air cinemas, beach holidays and street markets popping out of every corner of the city.

Summer won’t be complete without a trip to the beach. Just half an hour from Amsterdam by train are the popular beach resorts of Bloemendaal aan Zee and Zandvoort aan Zee. The resorts boast of golden sands, a variety of watersports, plus loads of beachfront cafes and bars.

Is also best to stroll around Amsterdam’s Canal Houses (Herengracht, Prinsengracht, and Keizersgracht) during the month of June.Canal houses were once home to the elite families during the Dutch Golden Age.You’ll be surprised to see the beautiful architecture and canals and its picturesque gardens hidden behind the historic facades of the houses.

The Herengracht canal. Photo from Magic4walls.com

The three canals light up with splendor during the last week of July until the first week of August for the “Gay Pride Parade”. You’ll lose your mind on the alcoholic beverages offered by numerous the gay parties and venues within the area. Also, don’t forget the highlight of the main event - the canal parade on the 6th of August where extravagantly decorated boats parade on the three canals.

Tip: As this is the peak season for tourists and backpackers, the rates of accommodation, hotels, hostels, flights, and other activities go up in this high tourist season

Autumn (September To November)

Much like in spring, days grow shorter, but the weather is colder and rainier during autumn.Autumn is always a beautiful sight in Amsterdam with the rustic autumn leaves drifting silently, quiet streets, and calm canals. The fall weather is perfect for indoor activities, and you’ll never get short of these events in Amsterdam.

Starting off with the annual event, Museumnacht or Museum Night held on every first Sunday of November from early evening until dawn, wherein over 40 of the best museums join together to provide attractions to the tourists and locals. There’ll be band performances, poetry readings, dancing and all sorts of festive stuff on the event. Who needs sleep anyway?

Another perk of visiting Amsterdam in the fall season is the shorter lines and uncrowded places. You can have the Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank House free of queues. Explore and discover the arts and history of Amsterdam through the walls of the Rijksmuseum and see the biographical museum dedicated to Jewish wartime diarist Anne Frank.

Another way to enjoy Amsterdam during the fall season is to cozy up in cafes or if the temperature gets too low, skate away in the famed Jaap Eden ice rink which features 400 meters of track to skate as well as restaurants and even a disco skate on a Saturday evening.

Tip: Prices, tourism, and temps have dropped, and it’s the best time to experience cozy cafes, free museums, and small, local happenings.

Winter (December To January)

Amsterdam looks right out of a fairytale come winter time. It’s stunningly white everywhere you look! Also, snowy nights are extra romantic! And Sinterklaas (Santa Claus) sails into town every winter on a kilometre-long parade of floats and boats every 13th of November.Be sure to catch him!

Like every season in Amsterdam, winter won’t be complete without a festival. The grandest festival in Amsterdam during this cold season is the Light Festival. It runs for almost a month, from Dec 1 to Jan 22, featuring jaw-dropping large-scale lighted installations dotted across Amsterdam city center.

Since it’s officially snowing, canals and lakes in the whole of the city freezes, thus plenty of ice skating opportunities. While there are artificial rinks, nothing beats skating on natural ice. Drop by Jaap Eden ice rink if you’re in the mood to skate.

Tip: Airfares are at their absolute lowest in November and February, because the weather is dismal and dreary.

OK, Amsterdam is historic and beautiful. It has classic architecture and picturesque canals. There are culture and art. And it's atmosphere is festive all year round! Really, there's no best timing to visit this place because every season offers its unique charisma.Goede reis (Have a safe journey)!

    Jessica Kim

    I am an ultimate travel enthusiast and the founder of ‘Justanomadiclife.com’. I am a 26 year old-something, fun, passionate and free-spirited individual who set up 'justanomadiclife' blog as my public diary to document all of my amazing personal travel experiences which hopes to provide answers to your travel questions and (hopefully) inspire you to go places.